Before you spend any money on new gear, you need to figure out what's wrong with your current system. It would also be a good idea to list a system you've heard, and would be happy with.
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Ok, yeah my bad. I have the mirage omd c1 center channel my towers and klipsch iii for my surrounds and surround backs and two pioneer sw8 Anthony Jones subs . Running my mains and center is an emotiva xpa3 and an xpa5 pushing my surrounds all run into my onkyo pr5508 pre. I'm happy with how everything else sounds but when l listen in two channel stereo to my music the towers just aren't as clean and crisp as I'd expect being pushed from that amp. Its hard to describe and I'm at work but when I get home I'll give a better description.
You'll never get good 2 channel sound quality running the signal through HT gear. If you have a source with a volume control, plug it directly into the amp and see how it sounds. If not, you can get a passive line stage. You don't have to spend a lot of money on one. That should do more for your current system than a new pair of speakers. If you buy new speakers, you'll just have the same problem.
I've used a PRSC-5508 for both home theater and 2 channel stereo and for 2 channel stereo it sounds absolutely spectacular provided that you run in Pure Audio mode with all Audessey room correction and EQ fully bypassed.
Back in the day, I owned a pair of DM604's and they were amazing value for what I paid for them at the time ($250 from a local private party). These would be a step above the DM603s so you might consider holding out for a pair at a good price.
@jmccl12 - the Mirage speakers use a diffused tweeter setup to give it that 360 degree dispersion. This is supposed to give a wide open, wall to wall sound stage. However, as the higher frequencies are dispersed around the room, and not directly toward you, I could understand how you feel they may not be crisp enough for your liking.
Any traditional speaker that has the tweeter and mid-range pointed directly at the listener is likely going to sound more crisp, and definitely different, than the Mirages.
If possible, I would recommend you try to audition another speaker in listening room before committing to a purchase. You may, or may not, like the direct sound.
You'll hear a big difference even if you get a cheap one. Of course you can spend more money and get one that sounds better, but the main thing is to get the HT processor out of the signal path. I have one made by Channel Island Audio that would be fine. It sells for $200-$300 if I remember correctly. Creek also makes a good one.
If you've ever wanted to try something like an AQ Dragonfly, that will work as well. It sells for $100 and you can use it with a computer, tablet or smart phone. You would run a cable from the DF directly to an input on your amp. Best Buy sells them, so can always return it if it doesn't work out.
If you want too keep the budget low for a passive, the Schiit Sys is a good option. It's basically a source selector switch with a volume control, just like most other passive preamp and does it well. It doesn't add or remove anything in the audio path as long as you don't need to run real long interconnects. All for $50.
When someone wants a recommendation on a speaker that isn't too expensive but is still good, I always recommend the same ones. You can find Kef 104.2's, Vandersteen 2Ce's, B&W 802 (80's series) all for anywhere from $500 to $750. You have to make sure that the surrounds are all good but for that kind of money, you'll be pleased as these were all very good speakers. There's other as well, just can't remember them now. They'll sound completely different than your Klipsch, much more accurate though.
Ok, I mean I noticed when I first had my mirage towers just running thru an old onkyo 809. I thought to myself "it must be the receiver unable to push them like they need to bring out their true sound. Maybe if I upgrade amplifiers" , so I did with no noticeable change in their voicing sound or overall performance. Thats why I thought like in most other cases, the weakest point will be highlighted and can then be fixed. Maybe it's just me but i really feel like the xpa should have no problems opening these up for bigger sound then I'm getting or maybe this is all they've got and I'm asking for too much from them.
Either way, I appreciate the different points of view on this.
That particular Mirage speaker I would consider a Lo-Fi to perhaps lower end Mid-Fi speaker. Imo, based on specifications it is a design incapable of delivering a HiFi experience. I strongly suggest you save up your money and move in an entirely different direction, i.e. a more traditional Bass/Mid/treble speaker versus a skinny tower with multiple tiny woofers and a cheap, light cabinet. It seems, based on your discussion, that you can hear the lack of quality, now you have to save up and discover much better. Don't be cheap; put more money into it, or else you will only trade one set of performance problems for another.
Many people wouldn't care about the sound quality; it seems you may be a budding audiophile. If so, congratulations! You are earning your credits by owning different gear and learning what better sound is, and how to get it. I suggest you go to a very different approach, a tried and true one, by seeking a wider, heavier three way tower speaker with perhaps the traditional three drivers, bass (no less than 12"), Midrange, and Treble.
You likely will be shocked at how radically different things will sound, especially in terms of cleanness, coherency and bass extension and dynamics. You really have not had good sound with these speakers relative to all the other options on the market. Simply because a speaker is a "bargain" does not make it sound anywhere near HiFi.
Many years ago I was a poor student audiophile and I was tempted by all such cheap speakers, thinking they were really close to HiFi sound. Wow, did I have a lot to learn! It takes a lot more money spent and a lot better design/higher quality to have a lot better sound. The larger number of drivers tempts many, but often it is a cover for poorer quality parts in drivers and cabinets, crossover, etc. and results in poorer sound. Those are just the facts of it, and I hope that you will move in a direction of more refinement over time, and find great satisfaction.
Your conclusion, "...maybe this is all they've got and I'm asking for too much from them," is correct. There is a world of better sound based on better design and build quality available to you. I have no axe to grind against Mirage; it matters not the badging on the speaker, I would assess it the same regardless of brand.
I hope I have not been too harsh, but until one knows for certainty that the speaker is the problem one will not move off of it, and could spend a lot of money hopelessly trying to get more out of it than it can provide. Imo moving to a passive preamp would be an utter waste with these speakers, and that comes from someone who has experience with fine passive preamps and owns a beautiful one. :)
No, no offense taken. I was honestly starting to question my hearing, lol. I've played in bands for years and like to think I have a pretty good ear when it comes to music and sound. The mirages were a blind bought audition. And since getting more into the quality of reproducing the sound image to have enjoyable family movie nights and me myself with my music, I like to think I know a little more for what to look for. My main problem with selection is everything you research has a good review. Well I'm sorry but they can't all be winners! So it's tough for myself in an area that doesn't have higher end equipment to test and check out in person. I rely on guys like most here in these forums for more educated and unbiased (for the most part) reviews and opinions. I'll keep looking and listening. Thanks
What about the 2 1/2 way designs on the market? I mean yeah I CAN drop a decent dime on some but if I can make a drastic improvement on what I already have I’d be ok for a little while (knowing full well I’ll replace whatever I buy with something better anyway). Bang for the buck ya know but I also have to look at them, not only that the wife too. I don’t care how good they sound you can’t drowned out relentless complaints of how ugly they are to look at LOL
Yeah I seen that also. But working on a budget I gave myself $1200 is more than I'm thinking of dropping at this point. Even though I can hear the saying "you get what you pay for" echoing in the back of my mind. The diamonds 10.7's look good but I'm stuck wondering how they'll perform in my home theater. Musically I don't have a worry but I /we watch alot of movies. And everyone else might be content and never notice, I'll be the one focused on the speakers not performing like I want instead of focused on the movie playing. So many new options to look at and choose from now. Theres some psb silveri's, paradigm reference studio 60 v1 or 2's. The wharfedale's. Even some bowers, all going for pretty decent prices. I'm stuck, but knowing full well no matter what I decide on I'll be gaining a ton.
Can anyone weigh in on the performance of kef floorstanders? Specifically the Q55's? I'm stuck between psb image 5t's, paradigm reference studio 60's, and wharfedale diamond 10.7's 10.5's or 9.6's. Too many choices and not enough rooms for all of these lol. Any feedback is and has been greatly appreciated!
Bob and everybody else who's weighed in on this, thanks for the numerous new options and things to think about with my future purchase. With a little luck and alot of money I might just find something that I'm happy listening to. Take care everyone, maybe I'll update when I've made my decision. Thanks
Sorry to be so late in chiming in; seems nothing has been mentioned about your general set up. What is the size of your audio/video room? How far from the forward wall are the tower/front surround speakers, how far from the side walls, how far apart and how far from the speakers is your viewing/listening area? These are all details that need to be addressed and tweaked in order to get the most out of any audi system.
In my video system I have a set of a set PSB Stratus Goldis as my front surounds/stereo mains. When set up properly (at least 3' from front walls, 2' from side walls and 6' - 8' apart) with good components and proper room treatments, they sound very good. In my video room, because of room and wife restrictions they can't be set up nearly so well and while they sound great in my surround sound video, in stereo audio mode they don't sound nearly as nice as they can. This system is ok for casual listening when streaming Pandora etc but for serious listening, I'm very lucky to have a separate and adequate space, available and set up just for audio.
The best speakers and components would sound disappointing if not properly set up. If your room and wife will permit, you may have to make some placement and set up adjustments to get the sound you're hoping for
Best of luck,
Its a finished basement for the most part except for the floor. Just a remnant down in the middle. It measures 18x19 with 7' ceiling. I believe the fronts are 8-10' apart about 6" from the back wall and 5' or so from the side walls. They just can't do what's expected of them. Time to upgrade and whether or not i did i will soon find out. If the original set I was set to buy didn't fall through theres no doubt it would have been a major improvement. Time will tell and I know I'll be trading these in soon enough once things steady out and allow money to go towards that. Thanks